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Published on .
URL: www,
Company: Dow Jones & Co.
Average monthly unique vistors: 8 million

MarketWatch, Dow Jones' Web-only business news and finance venue, saw its monthly unique visitors grow 24% between April 2007 and April 2008, according to Omniture Inc. figures. Jim Bernard, general manager of MarketWatch, attributes much of this spike to its new community area—”a runaway hit”—that was launched last fall.

The community section offers now-common social tools but goes further, with features such as Stock Picks, which allows users to share their predictions on how a stock, fund or index will perform over time. In addition to testing—and ranking—the accuracy of individual stock pickers, the tool creates ever-evolving lists of the most popular, most bullish and most bearish stocks, funds and indexes.

“We take user sentiment data and create a proprietary way MarketWatch looks at financial markets,” Bernard said.

While many sites assign one person to monitor community users and keep conversations going, MarketWatch has dedicated a team of developers to the effort. “They are constantly tweaking and innovating,” Bernard said. For example, users were originally able to rate articles on a scale of 1 to 5 stars, but they didn't take to it. When the stars were replaced with thumbs up and thumbs down icons, activity took off.

“The MarketWatch home page has historically been our "secret sauce,' “ Bernard said. “The page changes about every two minutes around the clock.” Responsibility for the site circles from New York to San Francisco to Hong Kong to London and back to New York over a 24-hour period.

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